A 47-year-old Burnsville man admitted in court Wednesday to fatally shooting a guest during a gathering to watch the Bears-Packers game, because he was angry that the guest had posed for shirtless photos in his son's bedroom.
Robert M. Thomas pleaded guilty in Dakota County District Court to second-degree manslaughter in the shotgun death on Jan. 23 of James E. Koenig, 38, also of Burnsville. The shooting happened at Thomas' home, in the 14000 block of Plymouth Avenue S.
"This was a senseless shooting death which should never have occurred," County Attorney James Backstrom said.
According to the charges:
Koenig's girlfriend said Thomas invited her and Koenig over to watch the game. She dropped off Koenig and returned just before halftime to find both men drinking straight vodka from coffee cups.
After the game, she said, Thomas' 13-year-old son came out of a bedroom with a camera containing photos of a shirtless Koenig striking poses. Thomas saw the photos and asked the girlfriend what Koenig was doing "in the other room" having the teen take pictures of him.
A third man there to watch the game heard the girlfriend and Thomas yell at Koenig, demanding that he leave.
Koenig, saying he had the photos taken for his Facebook page, initially went to the door, according to the third man, but then rushed toward Thomas, saying he lacked the guts to "do anything about it."
Thomas responded with a shotgun blast to Koenig's chest.
Judge Timothy McManus ordered a presentence investigation and set sentencing for Oct. 27.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482